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Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell

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PostSubject: Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell   Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:55 am

Danielle Deveron thought of herself as an outmate. She liked the expression, because in the word there was an element of outcast, as well as the notion of being mated. It was accurately descriptive, she thought, of those carrying on a relationship with a prisoner.

Not that Danielle thought she had much in common with other outmates. Most of them she considered pathetic, women with no self-esteem. As she saw it, their relationships with prison inmates offered them little more than a perverse nunnery. Danielle was sure her situation was different. Her wealth, reputed to be in the neighborhood of fifty million dollars, was only a part of what Danielle believed distinguished her from the other outmates. Perhaps she'd read too much Fitzgerald, who insisted that the very rich "are different from you and me." Or perhaps she was just being realistic.

Her money had brought Danielle to the prisoner. Helen Bernard had been the inadvertent matchmaker, guilty Helen who'd always been somewhat ashamed about her own vast wealth. Helen believed it was her duty to sit on philanthropic boards and work for the betterment of society, and was always dogging Danielle to become involved with one do-gooder organization or another. Usually Danielle escaped such duties by writing a check. In the end that's what they always wanted anyway. But on this occasion Horse-face Helen had piqued her interest. She had wanted Danielle to accompany her on an afternoon outing to San Carlos Prison.

Prison. Not some luncheon, or fashion show, or gathering of serious looking people talking about addressing some pervasive wrong. Danielle had never been to a prison before. And what truly intrigued her was that Helen was scheduled to meet with a murderer. In her thirty years on the planet, Danielle had never met a murderer. She had dated the gamut of males, including poets, stockbrokers, race care drivers, royalty, near royalty, surgeons, CEO's, and even a junior senator from the state of Colorado, but she had never spent any time with a murderer (or at least with anyone who boasted of having made a killing in anything other than the Market).

What did they see in their first look? There was an immediate attraction for both of them that went beyond the physical. Clay Potter had been on death row for a dozen years. He was thin and pale, had sunken cheeks and a consumptive cough that caused a lock of his long dark hair to fall up and down on the bridge of his nose. There was a scar running along his right cheek. His arms, exposed to his elbows, were a canvas of tattoos, displays mostly of naked women, but his painted ladies, even in their exaggerated forms, disappeared in the presence of Danielle. Preternaturally pale, her milk complexion set off her dark lashes and blue eyes. Her pressed, shoulder length golden hair, glittered.

Gold, he thought. The hair, the woman. She personified his dreams, and his fantasies of wealth. He had always had visions of what it must be like to be wealthy, and had pursued lucre, Jason after the fleece, Jason willing to fleece, or worse. Clay's problem was that he had never been able to distinguish fool's gold from the real thing.

The attraction wasn't one-sided. Clay didn't have the looks of the pretty boys Danielle usually associated with, but there was something about him that beguiled. She remembered attending a party replete with movers and shakers. There were familiar faces everywhere, household names from the entertainment industry, superstars from the sporting world, but the person that drew the most murmurs and looks was a mobster. "He's arranged murders," were the whispers.

Clay had done more than arrange murders. He had committed them, Danielle thought, though as might be expected, he still proclaimed his innocence. His pronouncement was made to the two women without any enthusiasm, words from a tired old scripts, words that had been uttered too many times to audiences that never listened or believed. Anyone who works in the criminal justice system knows that most inmates proclaim their innocence as a matter of course. Though lock-up wasn't anything new to Clay, he tried to explain to Danielle and Helen that murder was.

"I've always been a B & E man," he said, explaining that meant "breaking and entering." It was just his bad luck to have broken into the wrong house. Everything had been quiet, he said, too still. It was one of those Hillsborough mansions, the kind where there should have been noises. He had been cruising the neighborhood, looking for some easy pickings, when he stopped at this one house. "Just a feeling," he said. He said his suspicions should have been aroused by the off-line burglar alarm, but he had encountered lots of homes where people had deactivated their systems just because they didn't want to be bothered with them.

"I'm an opportunist," Clay said. Was he warning Danielle? "I take advantage of circumstances."
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He told them how he quietly went through the house, relieving it of rare coins, stamps, jewelry, and silverware. He took his pickings from the den, dining room, and family room. Clay said he was not a confrontational thief, wasn't the kind to hold a gun on the occupants. He liked his houses unoccupied, and he began to wonder whether anyone was home. He decided to sneak a peek into the master bedroom, and that's where he saw the blood and what looked like bodies.
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PostSubject: Re: Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell   Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:57 am

Married to a Murderer
by Alan Russell
Page 2 of 3

"I panicked," he said. "I ran out of the house. I was so scared I even forgot my booty. I drove away fast. Unfortunately, my car didn't fit the neighborhood profile. That's why I got stopped by the police. If I'd had another car, I wouldn't be here."

Unsaid, but directed to Danielle with a telling look, he proclaimed the injustice. And somewhere in the look was also the hint that he should have been driving a new European sedan with the kind of privacy glass that hides its occupants from admiring eyes.

"The police didn't hold me," Clay said, "but after the murders were discovered they picked up one of my prints on the gold coins I left behind. Taking off my gloves was felony stupid, but I never expected it would get me convicted of felony murder."

His initial statement was what hung him, Clay told them. He had tried to deny ever being in the house, and later, when he recanted, the prosecution made much of his changing stories and admitting to "fabricating." The jury, faced with four bodies (two of them children, aged eight and twelve), and having a hardened criminal at the scene of the murder, sentenced him to death. The Golden State had decided not to let Clay see his golden years. His death was scheduled in six months.

"My lawyer says you've helped others," Clay said, addressing Helen with his eyes and words. "I don't have many cards left to play, but the one survivor in the family was an older son that was away at college. He and his parents weren't getting along. Apparently he had a drug problem. That's what they call it when you have money. You're a junkie otherwise. The day before the murders there was a big family fight. The parents said enough was enough, and that they wouldn't be supplying the kid with any more money."

Clay theorized that the night after the fight the son had left his university apartment, driven home, turned off the burglar alarm, and then bludgeoned his family to death. Their son was the one who would have benefitted from their deaths, Clay said. And who would benefit from his as well.

"That little preppie did whatever he could to help build the state's case against me. He hired some private dicks, and they dug up the dirt on me."

"Was there a lot of dirt?" asked Danielle.

Clay shrugged. "I was never any angel, but they made it sound like I was up to my ears in it. Their tactics didn't only work on the jury. They worked on me. I felt dirty, especially when preppy showed up every day in his thousand dollar suits. He was always quick with his silk hankie too. Pulled it right out of his fancy suit like a magician, and started with the waterworks.

"Maybe if I'd had one of them suits, and a fifty dollar haircut, and a Swiss timepiece, I wouldn't be in here."

Helen was too polite to disagree, but in her own mind she thought sheep's clothing would not have helped Clay Potter. He looked like a criminal. No. He looked like a murderer. When driving home later, Helen made a point of apologizing to Danielle.

"This wasn't what I expected at all," she said. "I often assist with prisoner's aid. But this is not the sort of case I would involve myself in. There are not the extenuating circumstances here which would warrant my involvement."

Danielle only half listened. She knew Helen liked to throw herself into frays that made her feel good about herself. Helen needed her noble causes, relished helping the disadvantaged, and the downtrodden, especially if they were victims of persecution or prejudice. But assisting an unlucky criminal - or more to the point - an inventive murderer, was not something that would benefit society, and more importantly, Helen.
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"I might help him," said Danielle.

"What?"

"Yes. I might."
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PostSubject: Re: Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell   Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:59 am

Married to a Murderer
by Alan Russell
Page 3 of 3Danielle didn't promise him anything at first, and he didn't ask.

Visiting a prison, talking through a reinforced window, isn't the usual way men and women get to know one another. But there was an intensity to their talks that neither could have imagined. They only had minutes with each other, but those were the kind of minutes many couples never experience. There wasn't music, or food, or a movie between them. There wasn't physical contact, or shared passions. There was only death around the corner, death and the discoveries between them.

A week after they met, Danielle offered Clay her financial support. Her money, she said, would buy him the best lawyers, the best tacticians. If her wealth could buy him another day's life, it was there for him.

There for the taking. Clay was usually good at that, but he wasn't sure how to respond in this case. Now that everything was being offered, he felt off-balance. He had heard about things like this happening, but only in fairy tales. He felt like the frog being kissed by the princess. Clay had always enjoyed stealing from the rich because he thought it brought him closer to them, almost made him one of them. And now everything was being offered on a golden platter. She was his last wish come true.

"I couldn't just take," he said.

"It's not taking," she said. "It's sharing."

"Like we were married?"

"'Til death do us part."

"What would your friends say?"

"About what?"

"You know," he said, then struggled for the words, "if we were to get married."

"They'd say," she said, "'Married to a murderer.'"

Neither of them spoke. The words hung between them. Each felt a thrill. He, that this one in a million (no, make that one in fifty million, he thought) woman could be at his side, and she, at the audaciousness of his notion.

Married to a murderer. Each of them thought about that. Marriage suited their desires, though each wanted different things. He wanted respectability, and she wanted notoriety. Both perceived the other as being powerful, as belonging to worlds they had only imagined.

"Will you marry me?" he asked.

"Yes," she said.

They didn't wait. Time was not on their side. Their nuptials set off a media frenzy. Why would one of the richest and most desirable women in the world marry a murderer? Danielle didn't offer answers, so the media tried to find their own. The life and times of Clay Potter were examined. If Danielle Deveron saw something good, and noble, and attractive in the man, then the reasoning was that there must be something there. Witnesses surfaced that remembered a different Clay Potter than was evidenced on his rap sheet. Even before his new team of lawyers went to work, the press began to call for a reexamination of his murder conviction.

"There is a God," said Clay Potter. And he knew there was an angel - his wife.

While desperate motions were filed, man and wife continued in their jailhouse courtship.

"People whisper behind my back," Danielle confessed. "Everyone is talking. And mostly what they say is, 'Married to a murderer.'"

"They're wrong," said Clay, his voice rising, red suddenly appearing in his ashen face. "They're wrong."

He coughed long and hard, the coldness of his years of imprisonment, and the harshness of the lies directed at his wife, making him burn with anger. Danielle consoled him. He didn't understand that she hadn't been complaining. Quite the opposite. Being married to Clay set her apart, made her something novel. Others might have five carat diamond rings, and Learjets, but she had something they didn't: she was married to a murderer.

They were quite the odd couple, but to all appearances Danielle and Clay savored their moments together. Despite all the tumult going on around them, despite the clamor for a new trial, neither of them expected that Clay would be alive for very long. In some ways they found a freedom in his execution date. "Carpe diem," Danielle often said. Clay didn't know the Latin meaning, but he did like the excited look on her face.

The reprieve call never came from the governor. But Clay's lawyers found enough extenuating circumstances to allow for a retrial. Clay was ecstatic. He had been proclaiming his innocence from the day of his arrest, and now, at long last, people were beginning to believe him. Clay's retrial was blessedly short. On further review of the so-called evidence, Clay was found innocent. In the arms of his beautiful wife, Clay left the courtroom. He told the media that he had never been happier, but he coughed all the while he made the pronouncement. It was clear to all that Clay was very sick, his body wasted from his long confinement. Many wondered whether his freedom had come too late.

His death was announced a week later, and the press treated it like a Greek tragedy. Center stage was the widow in black, poor little rich girl Danielle Deveron, but the public was not quick to rid itself of their early take on the story. Behind the widow's back, Danielle still heard the whispers: "Married to a murderer."

The words were all too familiar to Danielle. They had been Clay's last words to her. He had made his pronouncement minutes after his last dose of medication. Clay had been obedient and adoring almost to the end. It was only when he took that final swallow of medication that he finally awakened. His face had undergone a remarkable transformation, beginning with a cherishing gaze, to a questioning glance, to a piercing stare, and then, at the end, a horrified look. He was staring at death, and something else, something that must have appeared even uglier to him.

From the first, they had both seen what they wanted to see, both seen what wasn't there. For a time, each had thought the other perfect for their needs. Danielle had been married to a murderer, and her beloved was to die for his deeds. When it turned out Clay was innocent (just her luck, she thought), everything changed. This wasn't a man Danielle had wanted to spend a life with, but a death with. She had married a guilty man. She had married a murderer. She wanted that distinction, wanted the whispers. But even more, she had wanted his death.

"Married," Clay had gasped, trying to shout out his last words, trying to raise an alarm, "to a murderer!"

Then he died. Poisoned, but that was something only his widow would know.

Of their relationship the public would always judge, "Married to a murderer."

They would never know, thought Danielle, how right they were.
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PostSubject: Re: Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell   Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:04 pm

tnx for sharing affraid study medyo madami dami.. hehe
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PostSubject: Re: Married to a Murderer Short Story Mystery with Romance by Alan Russell   Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:02 pm

oo naman ading pinagkaabalahan ko yang itype
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